The other day we were browsing through an issue of La Cucina Italiana trying to figure out something new to try. We were, as always, in the mood for pasta with a red sauce, but we had broccoli on hand and wanted to make something healthy.
|I am getting bored with these veggies... bring on the meat!|
This lovely dish jumped right out at us, as we already had ricotta salata on hand from our Pasta alla Norma. The original recipe called for a wide variety of olives, but our local supermarket could only provide one variety - black Cerignola. So we swapped out the green Cerignolas and Gaeta olives called for in the original recipe with copious amounts of black Cerignolas, and it worked out just right.
Making the Dish
|Finely chopped ingredients|
|Simmering together the carrots, celery, shallots, and olives|
|Adding the roughly chopped tomatoes|
Cook the olive and tomato mix until most of the liquid has evaporated. This gives the sauce a chance to absorb all the wonderful flavor from the celery and carrot and really come together.
|All the liquid evaporated after 30 minutes of cooking|
After about 15 minutes of simmering, you can start on the pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and dump in your orecchiette and cook until 1 minute shy of the package directions. When you're 5 minutes away from finishing the pasta, drop the broccoli florets into the boiling water. That's right - instead of using a separate pot to cook these guys, you'll do it all in one.
|Broccoli and orecchiette cooking together - one pot, two jobs|
La Cucina advised us to put the broccoli in at the beginning, but this lead to overcooking and somewhat mushy broccoli. If you work it out so they'll spend only 5 minutes in the water, they'll turn out great.
|Methinks you should have realized on your own that cooking broccoli for 10 minutes was a bad idea, regardless of what the magazine said...|
|Tossing together the orecchiette and broccoli with the olive tomato mixture.|
Scoop out the pasta and mixture into serving bowls, and cover with a generous grating of ricotta salata cheese.
|Pasta and vegetables, ready to eat.|
The ricotta salata, although not added to the very end, plays a very important role in this dish. It contrasts beautifully with the olives which shine through the pasta sauce. The carrot and celery impart a sweetness to the sauce, and the broccoli gives it a bit of heft so it feels like you're eating a ragu.
All in all, this was a great find. Just be sure not to overcook the brocoli!
Who doesn't love olives? Tell us your favorite way to use olives in the comments so we can try it in our kitchen!
Click through for the full ingredients list!
Orecchiette with Broccoli, Olives, and Ricotta Salata
Written by: Adapted from La Cucina Italiana
A delicious vegetable dish that features olives and ricotta salata for a beautiful flavor
(Serves: 2 - 4)
1/2 lb orecchiette
2 cups black Cerignola olives - pitted and chopped
1 celery stalk
1 chopped carrot
1 can whole peeled tomatoes
1 cup water
1 head broccoli
1/2 cup grated ricotta salata cheese